Some billionaires buy newspapers, magazines and sports teams. Elon Musk is trying to buy a social network that he himself believes can make most of the world hate him.
“Everybody will blame me for everything,” Musk said during an onstage interview at the TED conference on Thursday. “If I take over Twitter and something goes wrong, it’s 100% my fault. I think there will be some errors.”
sounds promising. So in fact the world’s richest man – who already runs several companies with ambitious goals like taking humans to Mars – wants to buy Twitter (TWTR), a social media platform that, for all its benefits, Facing an investigation for content issues. Hate speech and misinformation, and also fighting to reignite user growth?
Musk has repeatedly stressed in recent days that he aims to promote free speech on the platform and work to “unlock” Twitter’s “extraordinary potential.” Others have suggested that he may be more interested in increasing attention for himself, whether the deal is done or not. Twitter’s leadership, shareholders and employees are now left to ponder the question after Musk made a surprise offer Thursday to acquire all shares in Twitter, which are not at a valuation of $41.4 billion.
The proposal set off a whirlwind 10-day period, during which Musk revealed that he had become the company’s largest shareholder, accepted a position on the board only to ditch it and tweeted How can Twitter die and the “w” should be considered abolished. From its name, among other suggestions. Even by the standards of Twitter — a company that has faced executive turnover, public interest from potential acquaintances, and no shortage of outside scrutiny — Musk’s push is plentiful.
Inside Twitter, employees have long been used to dealing with big changes, said Jenna Golden, who led the company’s political sales team in Washington from 2012 to 2017. He believes many are currently keeping their heads down and relying on their leaders to help them weather the storm. But Musk’s oscillations can make it difficult to stay focused.
Twitter CEO Parag Agarwal hinted at that difficulty in a memo on Sunday, in which he wrote, “there will be further distractions.” After Agarwal held an all-around meeting with employees on Thursday afternoon, however, some employees took to Twitter to express their dismay at what Musk’s bid might mean to them, and with the suggestion that they should be put through disruption. Must continue working. ,
The company is now gearing up for what could be a drawn-out acquisition drama. Twitter’s board of directors is said to be weighing its options regarding the all-hands meeting on Thursday, as The New York Times and others report. One of those options may be to implement a defensive strategy known as the “poison pill,” which would give other shareholders the right to buy shares on the cheap, effectively reducing Musk’s ownership stake and potentially reducing will literally force him to the bargaining table.
Still, there seem to be serious doubts about whether Musk, a successful but sometimes precocious entrepreneur who ended up in hot water with regulators in 2018, after falsely suggesting that he had tried to take Tesla private. Money was received, is serious about going ahead with the deal. , Despite being the world’s richest man, there are questions about how he will come up with the cash to finance the nearly $42 billion deal. Musk himself admitted on Thursday that closing a deal would be challenging, adding, “I’m not sure I’ll actually be able to get through it.”
Twitter stock fluctuated slightly on Thursday but remained mostly flat, closing around $45, well below Musk’s offer price of $54.20 per share. The lack of enthusiasm — unusual after a takeover offer — suggests investor scepticism about the deal.
Twitter declined to comment on this story, and Musk did not respond to requests for comment.